Europa League: AZ Alkmaar beat Atromitos after fire causes delay

AFAS Stadion

AZ Alkmaar have progressed into the Europa League group stage after the Dutch club played the remaining 33 minutes of their play-off against Atromitos on Friday morning.

The tie was abandoned on Thursday because of a fire at the AFAS Stadion.

Spectators were evacuated after the match was halted in the 57th minute, with the Greek side leading 1-0, but trailing 3-2 on aggregate.

Atromitos scored another goal on Friday, but went out on away goals.

The first signs of a problem at Alkmaar came when the floodlights failed, with the apparent cause a fire around the roof of the stadium.

AZ, who led 3-1 from the away leg, were reduced to 10 men after only two minutes when Markus Henriksen was sent off and Atromitos took the lead in the second leg through a goal from Dimitris Papadopoulos before play was stopped.

When the action resumed on Friday, Thanassis Karagounis made it 2-0 in the second leg but the Greek team could not find a winning goal as the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate, with the Dutch side advancing into the group phase.

Udinese failed to overcome a 3-1 first leg defeat in Italy as they were held 1-1 at Czech club Liberec, while fellow Serie A side Fiorentina were beaten 1-0 at home by Grasshoppers Zurich, but still went through on the away goals rule.

German giants Stuttgart were heading for extra-time against Rijeka until Goran Mujanovic struck in the last minute to send the Croatian club through 4-3 on aggregate.

Swiss side St Gallen knocked out Spartak after a 4-2 victory in Russia following a draw in the first leg.

St Etienne, from France, were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at home by Danish club Esbjerg, who had already won the first leg 4-3.

Spanish sides Sevilla and Real Betis reached the group stage in style. Sevilla won 5-0 at Poland's Slask Wroclaw while Betis thrashed Czech club Jablonec 6-0.

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